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THE WATCHMAN ON THE WALL SOUNDING THE ALARM.

Daily Digest

Aug. 14, 2015
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THE FOUNDATION

“No compact among men … can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.” —George Washington, draft of first Inaugural Address, 1789

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Colorado Appeals Court Says Baker Discriminated

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Eventually, the Supreme Court will have to clarify the implications of its Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The dissenting judges warned that the ruling would call into question the free speech and religious rights in this country. And Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is the most recent proprietor to join the handful of small business owners the court ruled discriminatory because they refused to bake cakes or make floral arrangements for same-sex wedding ceremonies. On Thursday, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision handed down by the state’s Civil Right’s Commission, saying Phillips' speech and religion rights do not apply to this situation. “[T]o the extent that the public infers from a Masterpiece wedding cake a message celebrating same-sex marriage,” the court said, “that message is more likely to be attributed to the customer than to Masterpiece.” Phillips' lawyer, Nicolle Martin, said they plan on appealing the case to the Colorado Supreme Court. But it’s not the end of the road. How much religious liberty do Americans have after Obergefell? SCOTUS opened Pandora’s box, and it’s up to SCOTUS to close it.

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Cuba Wields the Soft Power in Dealings With U.S.

The American flag will fly above Havana for the first time in 54 years, as the United States opens its Cuban embassy today and resumes diplomatic relationships with the communist country. Relationship with the Castro regime is still tense. Despite never cashing the decades of rent checks for the use of Guantanamo Bay, Fidel Castro said Thursday the U.S. owes Cuba millions of dollars to compensate for what the Cuban economy lost because of the U.S. embargo. Nevertheless, Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cuba for the flag-raising ceremony. As the Washington Post editorial board says, the Obama administration took a heat gun to the frozen diplomatic relationship in hopes of building a relationship with the country, to exert America’s soft power on the oppressive government. So far, it seems the Castros have exerted more influence on the U.S. than the other way around. The U.S. government did not invite any of the Cuban dissidents struggling against communism and for freedom to the event. Kerry said on the Telemundo network, “That is a government-to-government moment, with very limited space, by the way, which is why we’re having the reception later in the day at which we can have a cross-section of civil society including some dissidents.” By meeting with dissidents in private, he’s cowing to the Castros' wishes. “Maybe Mr. Kerry can at least leave an empty chair at the ceremony to symbolize the people, and the values, that will be kept outside the fence,” the Post’s editors wrote.

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Bush, Odierno and Mustard Gas, Oh My!

Jeb Bush is going to struggle with his brother’s shadow and the question of Iraq for the rest of the campaign. That much was made clear again Thursday in a national security forum in Iowa, where Bush said that “taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.” He’ll no doubt regret such a terrible sound bite. But for the record, Bush is exactly right about one thing he said Tuesday: Barack Obama’s “premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill.” He slammed Hillary Clinton, too: “Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.” Bush was smart to go on offense, but his “good deal” comments may erase any forward progress, especially after his previous “knowing what we know now” fumble.

In related news, the Islamic State has mustard gas, which it used against Kurdish forces this week. The jihadis likely obtained the gas from Syria, so it would seem Obama’s deal with Vladimir Putin to dispose of such weapons didn’t work out so well. Witness the cascade of foreign policy failure.

Finally, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno retires today, and we remember his recent comments lamenting the rise of the Islamic State — a turn of events he says “might have been prevented” if the U.S. hadn’t abandoned Iraq. And in a departing op-ed, he warns that now is “no time to cut the U.S. Army.” He says, “We need a force of 490,000 as global dangers rise. It’s at 450,000 and heading down.” Think Obama will listen?

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Editor’s Note

Seventy years ago tomorrow, Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcast to his people that he had accepted terms of surrender, thus effectively ending World War II. The news was received Aug. 14 in the U.S. The official treaty signing occurred on Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, and that day is the official “VJ Day,” but today’s anniversary is worth remembering. On Aug. 6 and 9, respectively, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Doing so prevented a likely invasion of the Japanese main island, and thus saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Today is a reminder that tyranny must be defeated, not appeased, if Liberty is to flourish.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

POW Flag: The New Symbol of Racism?

By Michael Swartz

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Like most leftists, author Rick Perlstein is not a fan of our nation’s efforts in Vietnam, despite the fact he was born in 1969 and, thus, too young to remember much of it himself. Thanks to an op-ed in the progressive Washington Spectator that was picked up by the now online-only Newsweek magazine, we’ve learned that a venerable symbol of that war was just another example of American racism.

Perlstein opens the article by saying, “You know that racist flag? The one that supposedly honors history but actually spreads a pernicious myth? And is useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage? It’s past time to pull it down.”

“Oh, wait. You thought I was referring to the Confederate flag. Actually, I’m talking about the POW-MIA flag.”

Realizing the gravity of his words in the heated aftermath, both Perlstein and Washington Spectator editor Lou Dubose apologized for calling the POW-MIA flag racist. Perlstein admitted, “The word was over the top and not called for.” But his enlightenment didn’t happen before a firestorm of criticism rained down on him from conservative outlets like National Review and RedState.

On the other hand, those on the Left are still defending Perlstein, which isn’t completely surprising in this age of “everyone who disagrees with me is racist.”

As the article goes, it’s just more wailing and gnashing of teeth over events that played out while Perlstein was still in diapers. For example, he asserted, “Richard Nixon invented the cult of the ‘POW/MIA’ in order to justify the carnage in Vietnam in a way that rendered the United States as its sole victim.” He continued, “[Nixon] declared their treatment, and the enemy’s refusal to provide a list of their names, violations of the Geneva Conventions — the better to paint the North Vietnamese as uniquely cruel and inhumane. He also demanded the release of American prisoners as a precondition to ending the war.”

In other words, it was like almost every other war Americans have fought.

Yet Perlstein droned on, “Whenever Nixon or one of his minions talked about the problem, they tended to use the number 1,400. The number of actual prisoners, was about 550. The number of downed, missing pilots were spoken of, prima facia, as if they were missing, too, although almost all of them were certainly dead.”

“And in 1971 that damned flag went up.”

Yes, it’s that familiar black flag — not of war or nationalism, but remembrance. It makes one wonder if Perlstein has something against yellow ribbons, since that’s also been associated with remembrance in wartime thanks to a once-popular song.

The obvious question, though, is why now? It’s been four decades since we abandoned South Vietnam in disgrace, leaving it to the wolves of the Viet Cong. The legacy of protesting that war has been a lesson learned in how to turn public opinion against a just cause — a template the Left has followed all too well with the Long War against Jihadistan. The current regime doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to wage that war. Aside from a fading recollection of 9/11, many Americans seem far more concerned about the latest dustup involving Donald Trump than our ongoing air war against the Islamic State that is the latest chapter in this epic struggle. One could answer that Perlstein is doing a pre-emptive strike against escalating in Iraq by alluding to Vietnam once again.

The answer may be much simpler than that, though. Perlstein has a book that’s just been re-released in paperback, and what better way to create buzz than to spin a new angle on old news. His article uses the leftist dog whistle of equating racism with the Confederate flag and applies it to a war we fought against others who don’t look like us — for others who don’t look like us, we might add.

When it comes to war, it might be the only flag that satisfies Perlstein is a white one. Or is that racist, too?

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TODAY AT PATRIOTPOST.US

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

OPINION IN BRIEF

Michael Reagan: “For some reason, many Republicans and conservatives have become their own worst enemies. If they don’t agree with 100 percent of everything a primary candidate says or does, they call him or her a ‘Republican in name only’ and they’re against them. It’s gotten totally nuts and self-defeating. … To make matters worse, if their favorite in the primary doesn’t win, many conservative Republicans won’t show up in the general election to vote for president. Ask Mitt Romney how that works out. Conservatives love to drop my father’s name and try to find candidates that act and think like he did. But they forget that Ronald Reagan was an 80-20 guy. He was happy to agree with 80 percent of a Republican candidate’s views because he knew that he’d never find someone with whom he agreed 100 percent. He didn’t make the perfect conservative the enemy of the good conservative. And he always, always, always supported the final choice of the Republican Party — even after they beat him in the primary. Finally, may I remind everyone that as governor, Ronald Reagan, the great conservative, raised taxes and signed an abortion bill. That would disqualify him as a RINO by today’s standards. Yet he was the best president in our lifetime.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “[F]or a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” –Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Class warfare flashback: “I say it is only reasonable to shift the [tax] burden to those most able to pay.” —Donald Trump, while proposing a 14.25% surtax on the wealthy in 1999

The BIG Lie: “If you think of Watts 50 years ago, if you think of South Central with Rodney King, all of the violence we have seen all the way to today in Baltimore and Ferguson has usually been sparked by police violence.” —Al Sharpton

Braying Jenny: “[Congress] called me back to testify on the IRS ‘scandal,’ and I too[k] the 5th again because [Republicans] had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them.” —Lois Lerner in an email dated March 6, 2014

Village Idiots: “I was never a political person — this whole fiasco has only made me lose all respect [for] politics and politicians. I am merely a pawn in [the Republicans'] game to take over the Senate.” —Lois Lerner in an email, June 2014

Belly laugh of the week: “There’s nothing criminal about [Hillary Clinton’s email investigation]. … I think she’s been completely truthful and this is an attempt by the Republicans to smear the front-runner early on. … [T]his, in fact, is nothing but a partisan witch hunt.” —Howard Dean

Late-night humor: “Bernie Sanders has now passed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire polls. It’s the first time anyone’s ever been passed by a guy in a Prius.” —Seth Meyers

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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